Surgical Drains: What the Resident Needs To Know

  • JG Makama
  • EA Ameh


Background: Drains continue to be an important aspect of the management of surgical patients. Its use has been contentious. However, when indicated, it is important that drainage should be practiced with prudence. Methods: Publications from both local and international journals through Medline, pub med and Google search (June-August, 2007) were reviewed. Results: Drains remove content of body organs, secretion of body cavities and tissue fluids such as blood, serum, lymph and other body fluid that accumulate in wound bed after surgical procedures. Therefore, reduction of pressure to surgical site as well as adjacent organs, nerves and blood vessels, enhances wound perfusion and wound healing. Reduction of pain is also achieved. However, drains are now known not to be innocuous especially when they are poorly selected, wrongly used and left in situ for too long. Essentially, passive and active drains are the most practically useful type. Conclusion: Understanding the benefits and applications of surgical drains and tissue responses to constituent material is not only relevant to a practicing surgeon but would help to reduce the abuse of surgical drains.

Keywords: Drains, surgery, application

Nigerian Journal of Medicine Vol. 17 (3) 2008: pp. 244-250

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2667-0526
print ISSN: 1115-2613